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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Tampa chapter.

By now, I’m sure you’ve read or watched Normal People or at least heard of it. The story centers around two people, Marianne and Connell, who drift in and out of a relationship with each other over several years. Sally Rooney’s original novel was published in 2018 and was adapted into a Hulu miniseries early in 2020. Both versions achieved immense popularity, and upon consuming either form of media, it’s easy to see why. 

I watched the TV version of Normal People back in 2020 when it first came out. It wasn’t something I had a particular interest in, as I don’t typically watch anything in the romance genre, but it was Covid, the series was short, and there was hardly much else to do. From the first episode, I was hooked. The realism of Marianne and Connell’s relationship and how they treat each other was remarkable. I felt like I was watching some sort of hidden-camera reality show rather than something staged and scripted. Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal have insane chemistry on and off-screen (we’ve all seen that Met Gala 2022 picture, right?) and offer a perfect visual display of the complex interactions between their characters. The cinematography is also amazing and does justice to the beautiful scenery of Ireland. 

Just recently, I read the book for the first time, and despite knowing all major plot points, I found myself blown away once again. The writing is truly incredible, and unlike most other stories I’ve read. Sally Rooney’s style and world-building are supremely important to aspiring writers and have a major value in my eyes. This was one of the first times I’ve operated in reverse order – series first, book second. And honestly, I think this is the best direction to go. Watching the show without a sense of what will happen and experiencing everything visually is spectacular and only adds to the emotional impact of reading the book. As I read, I realized that the show took dialogue word-for-word from Rooney’s writing, which is arguably what made the show work so well. 

Normal People is more than just a story – it’s an experience. It’s a stunning portrayal of how, at the end of the day, we are all just human beings, trying, failing, pushing to be better than we are. We all have flaws that we work to overcome, whether on our own or with that person who understands us better than anyone. The book and show tell us that love is messy, and that’s okay. Do yourself a favor – read or watch (or do both!) Normal People. I promise you won’t regret it. 

Eva Schoen

Tampa '26

Eva Schoen is a new writer and editor of Her Campus magazine as of 2024. She enjoys writing about the entertainment industry, including film, music, and literature. Eva was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and currently resides in Tampa, Florida for school. She is currently a second-year film major and psychology minor at the University of Tampa. On top of Her Campus, she is an intern for the Gasparilla International Film Festival, and balances an on-campus job as well. A lifelong pursuant of art, Eva enjoys anything pertaining to filmmaking, writing, music, and reading. She spends most of her free time outdoors, enjoying the Tampa scenery, and loves playing tennis and spending as much time in/on the water as possible. She loves to try new things, and is always on the lookout for her latest adventure!